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WTF is legal status of good Motorola walkie-talkies for private security use?

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  • WTF is legal status of good Motorola walkie-talkies for private security use?

    I remember in the early 80s I was issued a typical high quality Motorola Walkie-Talkie and got perfect comm from South San Francisco to San Jose, about 35+ miles and maybe a few hills and certainly a lot of buildings.

    I hear standard store bought units aren't good for more than 2 miles tops, while higher powered units like this require a HAM license (for the guy talking, not just the guy who owns it).

    https://www.amazon.com/BaoFeng-UV-5R.../dp/B007H4VT7A

    I just picked up two of these waiting on the programming cable. Also waiting on getting my HAM lic.

    So WTF is the legal status on non-HAM folks like typical Security Guards and high powered radios?

    PS-It also kinda sounds like you aren't supposed to use the HAM frequencies for "commercial" use.

  • #2
    You can't use the Amateur Radio frequencies for commercial use. You cannot transmit on business band channels unless you have a license. You can't use GMRS unless you have a license.

    Your private use of those radios you bought is illegal, unless you abide by FCC rules.

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    • #3
      Originally posted by Squid View Post
      I remember in the early 80s I was issued a typical high quality Motorola Walkie-Talkie and got perfect comm from South San Francisco to San Jose, about 35+ miles and maybe a few hills and certainly a lot of buildings.
      Radio systems typically needs repeaters to carry traffic that far.

      Originally posted by Squid View Post
      I hear standard store bought units aren't good for more than 2 miles tops, while higher powered units like this require a HAM license (for the guy talking, not just the guy who owns it).
      Simplex range is sometimes less than 2 miles. There are lots of factors involved, like frequency, power level, transmission type, etc.

      The Baofengs are NOT high quality Motorolas.

      Originally posted by Squid View Post
      I just picked up two of these waiting on the programming cable. Also waiting on getting my HAM lic.
      Getting a cable will make the programming easier than front panel programming, in most cases. Have you taken the amateur radio license examination already?

      Originally posted by Squid View Post
      So WTF is the legal status on non-HAM folks like typical Security Guards and high powered radios?
      I am not sure what you mean by high powered radios. For the most part, in the United States, you need a license to legally operate a two way radio. Some exceptions are FRS, MURS, and 900 MHz ISM, which allow legal, license free operation. GMRS does require a license.

      Originally posted by Squid View Post
      PS-It also kinda sounds like you aren't supposed to use the HAM frequencies for "commercial" use.
      That is correct, amateur radio is not intended to be used to engage in activities like that.

      It is unclear to me exactly what you hope to do with these. Are you working at a site and just want to talk to another guard nearby? Are you hoping to stay in touch with your dispatch center? Do you want to operate on amateur radio to pass the time while working?


      Originally posted by Soper View Post
      You can't use the Amateur Radio frequencies for commercial use. You cannot transmit on business band channels unless you have a license. You can't use GMRS unless you have a license.

      Your private use of those radios you bought is illegal, unless you abide by FCC rules.
      Just to follow up a little bit more on Soper's reply, that is correct, you cannot legally use amateur radio frequencies for commercial use.

      Also, you cannot legally transmit on business band frequencies unless it is covered by a license. For example, I used to work off-duty at a ski resort. I was given a portable Motorola radio of theirs to use. They were licensed for operation on the frequencies in the radio. I, personally, did not need a license, however. Some of the frequencies were covered by other licenses, though. For example, the National Ski Patrol frequencies were covered by a license issued to the National Ski Patrol, not the establishment that I worked for.

      Mere possession of those radios is generally fine. You can legally use them to listen. When you transmit, it is another matter, however. Each radio needs to be permitted on whatever radio service it is used for. Some of the rules can seemingly be in conflict with one another, however. For example, FRS is supposed to be used on radios at 1/2 watt or less with antennas that cannot be readily removed. Those same frequencies are inter-stitial frequencies for GMRS users!

      One of the common things over the years is people wanting a single radio to work on multiple radio services. In some cases it is fine and other cases it can be an issue. I currently has a Motorola APX7000. It is front panel programmable and has both VHF and UHF bands. I have been a licensed amateur radio operator for a long time. I use it to transmit on amateur radio frequencies and monitor other radio services.

      Hopefully I am not coming across as a radio Nazi or anything like that. I h ave been around this stuff for a whole lot of years.
      Last edited by Jim1348; 11-21-2016, 09:48 PM.

      Comment


      • #4
        Originally posted by Jim1348 View Post

        Have you taken the amateur radio license examination already?





        It is unclear to me exactly what you hope to do with these.





        Motorola APX7000.
        No, hopefully I'll get lic. before my 2nd Baofeng, cable and CD shows up.

        Just heard that at $25 apiece its a "Can't afford not to buy" thing for Zombie Apocalypse, SHTF or more likely just for use in great outdoors when out of cell range. I'm thinking I'd give one to a partner who might be staying within Cell phone range.

        Also to listen in on at least Fire Dept etc dispatch on duty, and give me something to play around with.

        $2700 for a walkie-talkie! I'd be scared to take it out of the home vault.

        Yeah, I guess the Guard Company would have a commercial lic. then hand out radios.

        Any clue how strict things are for "commercial use"? How is anyone gonna know its not just two guys talking about Home Improvement or hunting VS 'professional' construction workers or a couple guards somewhere?

        If two employees use them similar to how they use other personal tools, without the employer being involved or even in the know, is that considered "commercial"? Will someone barge into the conversation and demand to know WTF we are and what our status is RE 'commercial use'?

        I also heard its illegal to use 'codes' or 'ciphers' to hide information over the radio. Most of the radio traffic I've overheard in construction might as well be "code" in that no one could tell WTF they are talking about since its all short hand like football audibles. I'm guessing its the same with some security supervisor visiting sites and calling the office. Its all gonna by site number and some code as to disposition.


        I'm also thinking about getting one of these to play around with. http://www.transeltech.com/index.php...products_id=55
        However, one review of the $25 Baofeng says one of its weak points is the signal indicator is pretty much defacto binary, but I'm also guessing signal strength isn't a very good way to gauge distance VS even crude triangulation.
        Last edited by Squid; 11-21-2016, 11:11 PM.

        Comment


        • #5
          Another licensed ham here.

          Hams have their own official observers within their ranks and some of them are pretty serious, well-equipped, and willing to do direction finding and FCC notifications. It's like a sub-hobby. I wouldn't talk business on those frequencies. Use the MURS channels, or GMRS if licensed, and have at 'er. That way your partner doesn't have to be a ham too.

          There are several security officer/amateur radio ops around town here who are pretty active on the repeaters while unoccupied on duty. Keeps them alert and entertained, thus more effective.

          That direction finder looks like a fun accessory.

          Comment


          • #6
            Everyone else has done a good job outlining why transmitting with the equipment you bought for business, or without an appropriate license in general is a horrible idea, your question about just how bad it can be wasn't really answered. Like Hardway said, there are plenty of people that enjoy the challenge of finding unlicensed operators and turning them in, but I want you to see just what can happen after that.

            The FCC can seize any property associated with the violation, meaning not only the radio itself, but in many cases computers used for programming, or vehicles in the case of mobile installs or operation. Most seizures result in forfeiture. Fines usually start at around the $1000 mark and go up from there. Often times into the 10s of thousands on top of the asset seizure. Here is a list of FCC field enforcement actions for 2016. http://transition.fcc.gov/eb/FieldNotices/

            Here is the list specific to Amateur Radio enforcement actions: http://transition.fcc.gov/eb/Amateur...s/Welcome.html

            Source: FCC Enforcement Bureau http://transition.fcc.gov/eb/

            Note that this is a relatively well-funded federal department since they are not only responsible for protecting broadcast radio and TV from interference but also ensuring that emergency and public safety radio systems are not interfered with. Their fines and seizures raise a substantial amount of revenue as well.

            Comment


            • #7
              GMRS regulations are different here in Canada. Here in Canada no licence is needed to use GMRS. As well as fa as I know there are no regulations prohibiting businesses from using GMRS for business communications. If I were to equip guards with two way radios I would use either the Mototrola HT1250, or the Motorola CP200, this would be after I secured a licence from Industry Canada. I say after because Industry Canada assigns what frequency, or frequencies you can use when they issue the licence.
              Last edited by fortsmithman; 08-21-2017, 11:52 PM.

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by n0esc View Post
                Everyone else has done a good job outlining why transmitting with the equipment you bought for business, or without an appropriate license in general is a horrible idea, your question about just how bad it can be wasn't really answered. Like Hardway said, there are plenty of people that enjoy the challenge of finding unlicensed operators and turning them in, but I want you to see just what can happen after that.

                The FCC can seize any property associated with the violation, meaning not only the radio itself, but in many cases computers used for programming, or vehicles in the case of mobile installs or operation. Most seizures result in forfeiture. Fines usually start at around the $1000 mark and go up from there. Often times into the 10s of thousands on top of the asset seizure. Here is a list of FCC field enforcement actions for 2016. http://transition.fcc.gov/eb/FieldNotices/

                Here is the list specific to Amateur Radio enforcement actions: http://transition.fcc.gov/eb/Amateur...s/Welcome.html

                Source: FCC Enforcement Bureau http://transition.fcc.gov/eb/

                Note that this is a relatively well-funded federal department since they are not only responsible for protecting broadcast radio and TV from interference but also ensuring that emergency and public safety radio systems are not interfered with. Their fines and seizures raise a substantial amount of revenue as well.
                being as that is a total of 2 "actions" NATION_WIDE for 2016 and about a 1/2 dozen letters, I'm not gonna sweat it for casual use.

                I'm pretty sure to get an "action" or even "letter" you need to be doing not just enough illegal transmission to increase you utility bill, but no doubt also so obnoxious stuff that gets some interested party on the FCC's ass to do something about you.

                defacto it seems Amateur Radio is about learning, and I'm guessing you MIGHT get another HAM telling you you are doing something out of bounds LONG before any Feds even put you on the radar.

                plus, any Security use would be "an emergency" To me that could include reporting call offs or no shows, and "suspicious persons", funny smells, etc.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by Squid View Post

                  .

                  I'm pretty sure to get an "action" or even "letter" you need to be doing not just enough illegal transmission to increase you utility bill, but no doubt also so obnoxious stuff that gets some interested party on the FCC's ass to do something about you.

                  defacto it seems Amateur Radio is about learning, and I'm guessing you MIGHT get another HAM telling you you are doing something out of bounds LONG before any Feds even put you on the radar.

                  plus, any Security use would be "an emergency" To me that could include reporting call offs or no shows, and "suspicious persons", funny smells, etc.



                  All it would take to have a complaint filed is to transmit over a restricted repeater station, proper radio protocol not being used when transmitting or the content of the transmission (business or commercial related) is heard or received by a band, frequency, or repeater owner/operator/monitor.

                  If the FCC gets involved, you have violated federal regulations. Past violators have been subject to equipment confiscations, large fines and/or jail time.
                  .
                  Is risking the loss of your security license worth playing around with radio equipment that you are not licensed to transmit with?

                  As for the 'Security use would be an emergency". The FCC rules only allow Licensed radio operators to operate/transmit outside their designated band/frequency in an Emergency where there is No Other Means of Communicating /Reporting (Cell Phone, Landline, or in person) the emergency to the proper authorities.

                  So you, being an unlicensed radio operator cannot legally use your radio to transmit reports of call-offs (not an emergency), no shows (not an emergency), suspicious persons (business related and not an emergency), or funny smells (not an emergency unless life and maybe property is at risk).

                  Why take the risk?

                  Comment

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